Bar

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that bars, pubs and other hospitality venues can open in Alert Level 2.

During her daily press conference on Thursday, May 7, Ardern stated that Cabinet will decide on Monday whether New Zealand will move down an Alert Level but she outlined the guidelines for hospitality venues once Level 2 is announced.

“At Level 2, [hospitality operators] can reopen, but they all must play it safe,” she said. However, Ardern said hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate if they can abide by the three s’s

People must be seated – You can only have as many people in your venue that you can safely seat. And no venue, regardless of size, can have more than 100 people.

“Covid loves congregations,” said Ardern. “Crowds of strangers with no physical distancing and no ability to tell who you are standing near is very very difficult. It is much easier to separate people and trace them if we keep them seated. Congested bars have already produced a massive cluster in New Zealand and we must avoid another.”

People must be separated – There must be social distances between both people and tables. “This may mean for some it is not economical to open, but that is up to each venue,” said Ardern.

And finally, each table must have a single server. “At every venue there must be table service, this minimises contact and helps to trace,” she said.

Contact tracing will continue to be key and while the Government develops a digital way to register patrons of each venue, manual or basic recording will still be used going forward.

Operators will also have a responsibility outside their venue – if there are lines, people must be separated.

“Those who do not comply with these guidelines will be shut down,” said Ardern.

New Zealand could move to Level 2 as early as Wednesday, May 13. For more from the press conference, click here.

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